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Canadiens Showing Confidence In Cayden Primeau With New Deal

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens and Cayden Primeau have come to terms on a three-year deal that will see Primeau with the Canadiens until 2026, a show of confidence in their young goaltender.

Cayden Primeau, who was the last restricted free agent (RFA) still without a contract for the Montreal Canadiens, has officially been locked up on a three-year deal with an 890,000$ annual average value (AAV). It’s a great show of confidence in their 23-year-old netminder, who now has three years to prove his full worth to the organization.

Primeau had a very “up-and-down” season last year, both figuratively and literally, as he was yo-yoed between the NHL and AHL on a regular basis and unable to get a proper rhythm going. Many had begun to sour on him as a potent starting goaltender in the NHL, but Primeau quickly reminded fans of his ability with an extremely impressive performance during the 2022 Calder Cup playoffs with the Laval Rocket. Primeau was the backbone of the team, propelling them to the Calder Cup semi-finals with some clutch performances down the stretch. That performance is likely what prompted the Canadiens to give their young goaltender such a strong show of confidence.

 

Contract Implications For Montreal Canadiens

With Carey Price likely out for the season and a combination of Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault with the big club, it’s expected that Primeau would be the starting goalie for the Laval Rocket once again this season. With Primeau’s contract coming in at less than $1.1M AAV, he will not count against the Montreal Canadiens’ salary cap calculations when he is eventually sent down to the Laval to continue right where he left off last spring.

Another point to look at, is that this contract is a one-way deal from start to finish; a big win for the Primeau camp. Contrary to popular belief, a two-way contract does not make a player exempt from waivers, but in fact, stipulates what a player will earn in the NHL and AHL, respectively. Although Primeau remains waiver exempt for this upcoming season only, his signing of a one-way contract guarantees that he will earn the same salary, whether he plays in the NHL or AHL next season. That is a major show of confidence by the organization, as it will make Primeau one of the highest-paid goalies in the AHL when he eventually reports to Laval this season.

 

Primeau’s Time To Shine

In the past, it has not been outlandish for a club to offer a two-year deal to their prospects, where the first year is a two-way contract and the second year becomes one-way. In this situation, the Canadiens chose not to play around and offered Primeau three years of financial security, which is a significant break from the norm; an out-of-the-box approach to motivating a top prospect. Primeau now has the confidence and backing to continue pushing himself during this season to reach the consistency and level of play needed for him to play in the NHL, as he will know that he’s part of the plans for the following season with a one-way salary.

It may seem like a simple formality, but the construction of Primeau’s next contract is telling of the way the organization views him and his potential in the immediate and near future. The Canadiens now have Primeau and Samuel Montembeault signed for next season, and are reportedly in advanced talks with Jake Allen‘s camp on a multi-year extension. Should Allen sign, the Canadiens will have three NHL goalies on the roster next season, with neither of them being waiver-exempt. It will be very interesting to see how the Canadiens navigate this situation over the next season.

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habbernack

I was surprised the team didn’t bring up Poulin instead of Primeau. Poulin was playing well and Primeau would have gotten the majority of starts in Laval instead of sitting on the bench.

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